Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, CONTENTMENT, OR, THE HAPPY WORKMAN'S SONG, by JOHN BYROM



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CONTENTMENT, OR, THE HAPPY WORKMAN'S SONG, by             Poet's Biography
First Line: I am a poor workman as rich as a jew
Last Line: Which nobody &c.
Subject(s): Contentment; Labor & Laborers; Work; Workers


I AM a poor workman as rich as a Jew,
A strange sort of tale, but however 'tis true;
Come, listen awhile and I'll prove it to you
So as nobody can deny, &c.

I am a poor workman, you'll easily grant,
Yet I'm rich as a Jew, for there's nothing I want,
I have meat, drink, and clothes, and am hearty and cant;
Which nobody &c.

I live in a cottage, and yonder it stands;
And while I can work with these two honest hands,
I'm as happy as they that have houses and lands,
Which nobody &c.

I keep to my workmanship all the day long,
I sing and I whistle, and this is my song,
"Thank God, who has made me so lusty and strong,"
Which nobody &c.

I never am greedy of delicate fare,
If God give me enough, though 'tis ever so bare,
The more is his love, and the less is my care;
Which nobody &c.

My clothes on a working day looken but lean,
But when I can dress me, on Sundays I mean,
Tho' cheap, they are warm; and tho' coarse, they are clean,
Which nobody &c.

Folk cry out "hard times," but I never regard,
For I ne'er did, nor will set my heart upo' th' ward;
So 'tis all one to me, bin they easy or hard,
Which nobody &c.

I envy not them that have thousands of pounds,
That sport o'er the country with horses and hounds;
There's nought but contentment can keep within bounds,
Which nobody &c.

I ne'er lose my time o'er a pipe or a pot,
Nor cower in a nook like a sluggardly sot,
But I buy what is wanting with what I have got.
Which nobody &c.

And if I have more than I want for to spend,
I help a poor neighbour or diligent friend;
He that gives to the poor, to the Lord he doth lend.
Which nobody &c.

I grudge not that gentlefolk dressen so fine;
At their gold and their silver I never repine;
But I wish all their guts were as hearty as mine,
Which nobody &c.

With quarrels o'th' country and matters of state,
With Tories and Whigs I ne'er puzzle my pate;
There are some that I love, but none that I hate,
Which nobody &c.

What tho' my condition be ever so coarse,
I strive to embrace it for better and worse,
And my heart, I thank God, is as light as my purse,
Which nobody &c.

Whatever, in short, my condition may be,
'Tis God that appoints it as far as I see,
And I'm sure I can never do better than he,
Which nobody &c.





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